Hot on the heels of the 2015 album release The Outsider, the full-length documentary Island Bound, and an extensive tour schedule, Isle of Man-born Davy Knowles announces his new album Three Miles From Avalon. This collection of new songs sees Davy returning to his roots, and the sounds that first ignited his passion for music.
Recorded exclusively in his adopted hometown of Chicago, the capital of electric blues provided Knowles with a landscape steeped in legend, inspiring him to creatively explore the genre of music he’s always loved – energetic, guitar driven blues-rock.
Knowles began the recording process for Three Miles From Avalon with a fresh approach, one that has resulted in a dynamic, gutsy sound: “I wanted to go back to the basics. The band and myself have racked up a lot of playing time together, and we have really started to gel. I wanted to capture that ‘live’ feel in the studio
This led naturally to a back-to-basics approach, and a search for authenticity when it came to recording the new material: “My favourite sounding records are certainly older ones, recorded to tape, with minimal fuss or overdubs. I wanted that lovely warm, vintage sound that only tape and glowing tubes can do.”
A raw, vintage sound is evident in the album’s opening two tracks, the hard-driving Ain’t Much Of Nothing, and a long-time live favourite, What You’re Made Of, a homage to one of Davy’s musical heroes: “Rory Gallagher has been a huge influence for me, his energy and drive was so mesmerising. I wanted to get back to that high energy, big guitar riff style of writing.”
Falling Apart, the album’s third track, adds dark drama to the record’s driving pace with its smoky verses and heavy, snarling, blues riff. “I’ve had this song kicking around for a long time, but it wasn’t until I had found this guitar pedal called ‘The Octron’ (one of only two pedals used by Knowles on the entire album) that the song and the riff really came to life, it’s got this wonderful menacing sound.”
Weaving a moment of pathos into the tracklist is Oxford MS – a fictional account of shady dealing and violence. Storytelling has always been a vital ingredient in Knowles’ work: “Songs with characters and stories have always grabbed me, and I wanted to write one in the blues and gospel vein, it’s a story of blackmail, gambling and regret, though certainly not an autobiographical one!”
Yet it’s the title track, Three Miles From Avalon, which brings to the fore very personal aspects to a tale. “The song is really all about being slightly further away than where you want to be, and the frustration that comes with that. Avalon is this Arthurian legend, the Island that could never be found. It became my metaphor for things just out of my grasp.”
The song also reveals the musical influences close to Davy’s heart, showcasing his love of blues and classic rock with affection
The album closes on a hat tip to one of the all-time greats, Willie Dixon, with a re-working of his blues classic What In The World. Performed with a live, ‘after hours’ feel, the track showcases Knowles’ confident and distinctive guitar playing, but also a powerful solo on the Hammond B3 by Andrew Toombs – demonstrating that Knowles and his tight-knit band all possess not only stunning technical ability, but soul too.
Over the past 10 years, Seth Walker has become recognized as one of the most revered modern roots artists in the United States; a three dimensional talent comprised by a gift for combining melody and lyric alongside a rich, Gospel-drenched, Southern-inflected voice with a true blue knack for getting around on the guitar. His latest studio album, Gotta Get Back, produced by Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers, is yet another masterwork that further expands upon this reputation.
Growing up on a commune in rural North Carolina, the son of classically trained musicians, Seth Walker played cello long before discovering the six-string in his 20s. When his introduction to the blues came via his Uncle Landon Walker, who was both a musician and disc jockey, his fate was forever sealed. Instantaneously, Seth was looking to artists like T-Bone Walker, Snooks Eaglin, and B.B. King as a wellspring of endless inspiration. The rest is history. He’s released seven albums between 1997 and 2015; breaking into the Top 20 of the Americana charts and receiving praise from NPR, American Songwriter, No Depression and Blues Revue, among others.
In addition to extensive recording and songwriting pursuits, Seth is consistently touring and performing at venues and festivals around the world. Along with headline shows, he’s been invited to open for The Mavericks, The Wood Brothers, Raul Malo, Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster, among others.
Seth Walker is currently splitting his time between New Orleans and New York City after previously residing in Austin and Nashville. He’s used those experiences wisely, soaking up the sounds and absorbing the musical lineage of these varied places. With a bluesman’s respect for roots and tradition, coupled with an appreciation for—and successful melding of—contemporary songwriting, Seth sublimely incorporates a range of styles with warmth and grace. Perhaps Country Standard Time said it best: “If you subscribe to the Big Tent theory of Americana, then Seth Walker –with his blend of blues, gospel, pop, R&B, rock, and a dash country—just might be your poster boy.”